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Another of those ‘Game of Two Parts’ but the Cards Progress

Bob Raikes - 5th October 2018

Another of those ‘Game of Two Parts’ but the Cards Progress Woking 3 Kempston Rovers 2
The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
6th October 2018

A grey sky and steady rain greeted the players as Woking and Kempston Rovers (“the Walnut Boys”) ran out to contest the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup at the Laithwaite. Several injuries affected the team choice of Dowse, with hat-trick scorer and Oxford loanee, Harvey Bradbury and his club-mate, Armani Little, both out with injuries. Charlie Hester-Cook saw his first start for the season (and impressed). New longer term loanee, Jamar Loza also started and was a stand-out player. In goal was new signing, Craig Ross.

For Kempston, the visit to Woking was a step up from the Southern League Division One East. The crowd was a creditable 944, given the conditions.

Once again, this was a match of two parts. Kempston started quietly and Woking dominated. Three goals in seven minutes at the end of the first half and solid defending meant that Woking were well in charge at half time and in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, the question was just how many would Woking score? However, a great goal by Josh Crawley just after the hour and a second at 74 minutes gave Kempston real hope and Woking were hanging on in the end to go through to the next round.

Kempston started slowly, while Woking were bright and it was eight minutes before Kempston had meaningful possession in the Woking half. The first attack by Woking saw Paul Hodges take on and beat two defenders but his cross couldn’t find a Woking player. In the third minute there was a Woking free kick from the left and in the follow up Loza showed his trickery. After three minutes it seemed clear that Woking were looking to use the flanks to attack.

The steady pressure saw Gayle get a cross in to the far post, but the ball was put out. Woking were clearly in charge. On eight minutes, Kempston got a soft free kick for a foul and managed to get the ball to the edge of the Woking area in front of the KRE.

Loza had the first good chance for the Cards after a corner that followed a free kick, but his shot from the corner of the box went over the bar.

Around a third of the way through the first half, Kempston strung together seven or eight passes and threatened the Woking area but the ball was cleared by the defence. The move showed Kempston’s footballing credentials and why this team has got further in the cup than the club has for 38 years.

However, the game was being controlled by Woking who saw Loza and Hodges both causing trouble with their pace and trickery while Hyde was doing a good job in receiving the ball and spreading the play. Kretzschmar was also catching the eye. Henegan and Bush were booked for Kempston in the 27th and 28th minute as Woking dominated possession.

In the 38th minute, Woking had the best chance so far with Kretzschmar and Hyde combining well, but Kretzschmar’s shot was just tipped around the left hand post in front of the Leslie Gosden stand. However, from the resulting corner, there was a goalmouth scramble and Ian Gayle got the ball across the line into the keeper’s hands. Cards fans held their breath as the referee consulted the linesman who had raised a flag, but the goal stood. 1-0 to Woking and the team was really going well, with Kempston seeming to tire. On 41 minutes, Casey was booked for Woking.

Loza was making a nuisance of himself on the left, exploiting his pace and on 44 minutes he put in a great shot across the goal, which might have been going wide, but Hyde slid in to ensure the ball slipped in just inside the post. 2-0 to the Cards. There was then a break in play as Alfie Powell, who had slid in to try to stop the goal but had made contact with the post, was stretchered off to applause. The first substitute was Nathan Tshikuna, who was to make quite an impact in the second half.

Right at the end of the second and final minute of extra time, Gayle sent a good ball up to Hyde who spread the play to Loza on the far wing. He accelerated down the left hand side, pulling all the defence towards him and put in a low pass to Hyde who tapped the ball in to the net. 3-0 to Woking and the game seemed to have been secured. The team came off to great applause and Martin Tyler went onto the pitch to congratulate Loza for his first half performance as the teams came off.

Jake taps in for a second time to put Woking 3 up before half-time; pic: David Holmes

Half Time: Woking 3 Kempston Rovers 0

For the first fifteen minutes of the second half, Woking dominated although a good counter attack by Kempston on 50 minutes meant that Ross had to make a straightforward save from Tshikuna. A couple of minutes later, Casey and Shane Bush clashed heads and there was a pause as they were both checked, but both were able to continue, although Casey was down for some time.

Hester-Cook, who had been putting in a solid performance in midfield, conceded a free kick around 30 yards out, but the cross that came in was an easy save for Ross. Another attack by Henegan again was well defended and easily taken by Ross again.

In the 58th minute, for Kempston, Hall went off and was replaced by Josh Crawley and in the 63rd, Ben Shepard came on for Goodman.

Woking were getting some good chances. Hodges and Collier combined well to get the ball across and the ball was headed back from behind the far post into the danger zone in front of the KRE goal, but there were no Woking players to finish the attack. At this point, there were wave after wave of Woking attacks and the question was just of when Woking would add to the goal tally from the first half. Kretzschmar, Hodges and Hyde all threatened and combined well.

However, in the 61st minute, Kempston substitute, Josh Crawley, got free on the right hand side and hit an unstoppable goal into the far top corner, with the ball bouncing in from the post. Ross had no chance of stopping what Dowse described after the game as ‘a Worldie’. Now, it was game on and Kempston suddenly looked as though they believed they could get back into the game. On 71 minutes, Hodges came off for Woking to be replaced by Luer.

On 75 minutes, Kempston counter-attacked and Bush hit a great volley into the back of the net – another great goal and arguably against the run of play. Some thought that the ball had been handled in the run up to the shot, but the referee was in no doubt. Now it was 3-2 to Woking and Kempston were really fired up and the mood of the teams and the crowd changed.

The game was swinging from end to end and the visitors’ Mason Spence caused trouble with a good cross that Ross plucked out of the air. Within thirty seconds he had a shot, but it went wide. For Woking, Luer made a great break – not quite finding Kretzschmar - and Casey was contributing well to the proceedings.

On 84 minutes, Hyde - apparently unhappy - was taken off for Duane Efori-Acheampong who tried to use his physical presence to disrupt Kempston. Woking were then nearly caught by a fast counter-attack after Efori-Acheampong tried to hold up the ball by the corner flag, but was dispossessed. Khinda-John was booked for a stiff challenge, but the resulting free kick was put wide of the Woking post.

At 89 minutes, Conway, the Kempston keeper came a long way out of his area to try to intercept a ball and committed a foul to stop an attack - a foul which saw his name go into the referee’s book.

Woking survived two penalty appeals, one of which saw Mason Spence of Kempston staying on his feet when he might have gone done from a tackle in the box. By now, Woking had their backs to the wall and Conway, the Kempston keeper even came up the field to try to equalise in the last of the four minutes of extra time, but blazed his shot over the bar.

There was real relief from the Woking support when the referee blew the final whistle with a final score of 3-2 to Woking, the prize fee to be banked and a chance to get into the next round.

So, once again, Woking made a great start but proved fragile once the opposition made a breakthrough. The team looked completely in control for an hour, with barely a save having to be made, but once Kempston got the second goal the defence looked much more shaky. Kempston’s substitutions really improved things for the team. At the moment, Woking don’t seem to have anyone that can take control of the midfield and defence once the team is under pressure.

There were good performances from a number of Woking players, including Loza, Hodges, Kretzschmar, Hester-Cook and Casey. Hyde impressed with two good goals and some great link-up play.

Woking: Craig Ross, Ian Gayle, Josh Casey (capt), Jack Cook, Kiran Khinda-John, Nathan Collier, Paul Hodges (Gregory Luer 71’), Charles Hester-Cook, Jake Hyde (Duane Efori-Acheampong 84’), Max Kretzschmar, Jamar Loza

Unused subs: Reggie Young, Kane Ferdinand, Daniel Spence, Berti Schotterl, Nicholas Wheeler.

Goals: Ian Gayle (38’) Jake Hyde (44’, 45+2’)

Bookings: Joshua Casey, Kiran Khinda-John

Kempston Rovers: Martin Conway, Robbie Goodman (Ben Shepherd 63’), Seb Simpson, Alfie Powell (Nathan Tshikuna 45’), Alex Collard, Kyle McNulty (capt), Daniel Akubuine, Mason Spence, Jermaine Hall (Josh Crawley 58’), Shane Bush, Luke Henegan

Unused subs: Harlem Sambu, Carl Knox, Ben Acquaye, Ty Deacon

Goals: Josh Crawley (61’), Shane Bush (75’)

Bookings: Luke Henegan, Shane Bush, Martin Conway

Referee: Daniel Lamport

Attendance: 944

Man of the Match: Jamar Loza for his pace and aggression on the wing, especially in his first match for Woking (but a close call over Jake Hyde)
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